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#104727 - 01/24/03 07:32 PM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
sanseiryu Offline

Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 18
Loc: los angeles ,california
isshinryu kid wrote:

[/QUOTE]No Insult was ment,BUt Grandmaster shimabuku,Replaced The pinan katas,With charts 1 & 2. [IMG][/IMG]


Hi, as I said in my original statement, I also had to do the charts 1 and 2, upper body and lower body drills along with the Pinans and Seisan. Probably had to do with the fact that in traditional tournaments in areas with little Isshinryu presence, Seisan is categorized as a Black belt level form, therefore not acceptable as non-Dan grade kata. In Gojuryu, Seisan is considered to be 3rd to 5th dan level kata. It is not the same kata as Isshinryu Seisan. Although they share what you call Seisan-ness.

George Yanase

#104728 - 01/26/03 04:09 AM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Were instructors began instruction seems to be more an individual choice than anything else.

Almost all of them changed their approach as time passed.

Shimabuku Tatsuo began kata instruction with Seisan and concluced it with Sanchin (as the 8th kata taught on Okinawa, according to my instructors and various Okinawan sources). [Hence teaching Sanchin in another location seems to arise from other sources than Shimabuku Sensei.] The Charts I and II weren't really beginning kata, but an approach to studying basics, that he kept for his personal training, too.

Isshinryu's Seisan is out of the Kyan lineage, and follows an older tradition (Shorin) that used Seisan as the first kata.
It is true, while sharing a 'Seisan-ness' with the Goju and other Seisan kata, it diverged from whatever the 'Seisan-ness' source originally was.

Is it an advanced kata, sure it is. But take Goju's 'Supreimpe' most acknowledged as their advanced kata. One senior Goju instructor has suggested it would be more logical to teach it first (Chinen Sensei), in a British publication.

At the turn of the last century, Itosu's ideas for the Pinan kata were used to train Secondary School students. Now the majority of Okinawan youth didn't go to school then, it was the families of the eliete. And the inclusion of Karate was likely more for drilling practice, in preparation for draft into the Japanese military. Hence more linear, simpler kata, would make that easier (in my opinion).

The drive how to train new students, went through various cycles. Funakoshi took and modified the Pinan kata into the Heian Kata on the Japanese mainland, and was part of a force to try and suggest that everyone do the same.

On Okinawa, various karate commissions tried several times. In the mid 30's Nagamine developed Fyugata Sho in conjunction with Miyagi developing (or showing first) Fyugata Dai (Later Geseki Sho).

Still later that decade another series of 10 forms were created. Documented in Nakasone's Encyclopedia of Karate in 1938, it does not seem they were formally adopted by any system, but I've received Shotokan training with very similar kata progression drills, so they likely had some impact.

Then Miyagi in the late 30's began to use the Gesekai kata to train school children (I have no idea as to their ages), but most of his students were only trained in Sanchin, and one other kata.

Quite an ongoing saga.

In the 50's Ueichi Ryu was only teaching 3 kata, the others were added much later. To do superior Ueichi Ryu you only need to do the original 3.

And Isshinryu's founder, Shimabuku, kept up his instructor's Kyan's tradition, and kept playing with his system during his teaching years.

Various American schools did use and then discard means like the Pinan and other kata over the years. There is no clear consensus where the changes came from (Shimabuku or others).

Now this is an interesting historical step, but really irrelevant.

There isn't beginning Karate or advanced Karate. There is just karate. I guarantee you I can teach any karate form to any beginner and make it work for their instruction.

Where to begin and teach beginners, is likely a matter of method and personal style. As I veiw all Okinawn Karate, the long range goals of any of them really don't seem to be much different, strong personal defense.

Kata, in all its forms, is a way to bind one into those traditions.

Would that we could discuss the advanced methods of training several decades of practice, training, work and insight offer.


Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

#104729 - 03/31/03 10:44 AM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan

I have to agree with Mr Smith. My dojo consists of every grade from white belt to first kyu and each student can be taught something from what may seem the simplest kata. Even teaching the first kata to a student develops one's own understanding of it. Having said that I have only been training eight and a half years, so am a relative beginner myself.

#104730 - 04/24/03 04:32 PM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
DragonKai Offline

Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Evansville, IN U.S.A.
Hello everyone,

Going back to the original post, that I feel was not ever adequately answered. Traditionally, there was no such thing as a beginning or advanced kata. Masters instructed the katas that they liked and trained the most, first. Therefore, as the students studied under different master, they learned different katas (since in the original dojos, a student would train in a single kata for months) and develop a different understanding of the katas based on the Master's interpretation. I think it is work noting that even the PinanHeian katas are not "beginner" katas. Master Funakoshi himself spent over three months learning each pinan kata and then years after perfecting them into what he named the Heian katas. And by pulling out the applications of the Heian katas, one can see some very advanced concepts. Comtemporary schools choose to teach them early on because of their low number of techniques, the most being 23 techniques where as the katas taugh later on have upwards of 50 or 60 techniques and can be as many as 80 techniques, which lend themselves to being learned, not perfected, by more experienced practicioners of the arts.

The Ten No katas that Funakoshi developed are very simple by looking at them. They begin with just stepping out and striking, or stepping back with a block and then striking and after each technique returning to the yoi position and never moving from one place. However, Funakoshi firmly believed that even the most advanced martial artist should, upon mastering his art, return to these "beginning" katas and focus on them to perfect the practicioner's techniques.

Not to mention that in actual combat, the smallest movement, going the shortest distance, and having to move the body the least amount is the ideal technique. Always remember to Keep It simple.

Sorry to write such a book, but I hope I have provided some insight on the topic.

#104731 - 05/02/03 05:54 AM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
Toudiyama Offline

Registered: 04/14/03
Posts: 229
Loc: Zaandam, Netherlands
Appart from the Pinan and Fukyugata or Taikyoku there are no beginners or advanced kata, just Kata
On Okinawa one would trian with different masters and learn different kata from them, thus collecting several kata on the way, where you start is upto the founder
Some Karatemasters didn't even find it neccesary to know more then a couple, Motobu Choki considdered Naihanchi enough, it contained everything he needed
In Nahate styles it is often so that they start with Sanchin
In Shorin style Pinans are soly done in the Itosu lineage

#104732 - 05/03/03 04:31 AM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
Multiversed Offline

Registered: 03/11/03
Posts: 642
Loc: Sa, Tx. USA
Even amongst various ryuha of the same root system (ShuriTe/Shorin), the kata orders and bunkai differ considerably. For example, the Naihanchi (1-2) are the first true Shorin kata taught in Shorin Ryu Kobayashi-Shorinkan. In Matsubayashi Shorin and Matsumura Seito the Pinans (1 and 2) are taught first. Shorin of Kyan's lineage (Shorinji Ryu, Chubu, etc.) and Matsumura Seito teach Seisan. In Matsumura Orthodox it is considered a Shodan level form. This version is much more intricate than the Isshin version and Shotokan's Hangetsu, although they do have sequential similarity.

Pinan Shodan is the first kata taught in many Shuri Te derived systems. This lineage includes Shito Ryu and Shotokan, as well as Wado Ryu. They are all Matsumura Ha. The thing is that it is a much more complicated form than the Nidan version. In many modern styles (Tang Soo Do for example) the order for these two is switched. Nidan is taught as Shodan, and Shodan is learned second.

As introductory forms, Seisan (as taught in the Matsumura family style) and to a large extent, Naihanchi, seem to be too complicated for the beginner to grasp. The thing is that many styles do what they do out of tradition and not necessarily for any specific training reasons.

Still, it would be hard for me to try and teach a beginner Matsumura Seisan and its meanings (such as the liberal use of stepping-side or changing body). Many of the principles inherent in this form are meant for seasoned karateka. Forms that are replete with basic defensive and offensive principles are best for the novice.

Now the Naihanchi are a different thing. I still think it would be better to teach the grappling, lateral stepping and in-fighting principles of Naihanchi at an intermediate level, when basic forward and backward movement has become fluid, unforced and natural.

So Seisan or Pinan first? Well, depending on the version, you could teach either one as the first form. Heck, if you think about Pinan One there is much depth in its "apparent" simplicity. The Matsumura Seito version is still one of my favorite forms.

BTW, although being the "original" Shuri Te, Matsumura Orthodox only teaches Pinan 1 and 2. Sandan is also learned. The last three are considered Itosu-Ha, and more modern. They are supplementary in Hohan Soken's style.

Seisan is a much cooler form than any of the Pinans! The bunkai is wide and varied. Maybe too much for a newbie to grasp. Good training!!!

[This message has been edited by Multiversed (edited 05-03-2003).]

#104733 - 05/05/03 05:55 AM Re: Pinan Versus Seisan
Toudiyama Offline

Registered: 04/14/03
Posts: 229
Loc: Zaandam, Netherlands
Actually Pinan Nidan is the first Kata we learned in Wado, it is the same kata which is called Shodan in Shotokan karate
Nidan is easier because of the hips, in Shodan we move them in opposite direction of the hand (gyaku soto uke followed by maegeri)so that's more difficult for a beginner

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